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on 3 February 2017
Like many people I suspect, I dived into Stephen Hawking's 'A brief history of time' with gusto, only to find myself completely lost after the initial chapters had so compellingly grabbed my attention, lulling me into a false sense of security as the complexity of the science and theories ramped up to a level far beyond the comprehension of mere mortals such as I. This book achieved something of the same effect, but in reverse.

It may be that this is as clear and simple a review of the steps leading to einstein's world-changing and brain-bending theories as is feasible without dumbing down the content, however this short book nevertheless seems more intent on provoking wonder at the beauty and insight of science than on conveying the ideas with the clarity of expression required for a true layman. Personally I found quite a lot of the material hard to follow, as it jumped around between complex equations, bizarre yet entertaining thought experiments, and straight-up history of science. Nonetheless the latter part of the book does a far better job of walking through general relativity than the previous sections on special relativity and quantum mechanics. Elsewhere, in their eagerness not to abandon the maths, and in their enthusiasm for the subject, for me the authors lost something of their purpose: I felt a little lost at many points. When they focused purely on the content of the theories, they were much easier to understand.

Yet some of the images used, such as the topographical representation of a journey through the landscape of spacetime, and the elevator thought experiment to explain gravity, were brilliant and generated the oft-quoted 'Ionian enchantment' (you'll have to trust me on that!) and it was definitely an engaging and stimulating read, with a nice conversational style, plenty of geeky humour and colourful cultural references. There is enough content to have materially shifted my understanding of the subject and I enjoyed the read, so I am recommending this and giving it 4/5.

I respect the authors for wanting to take the reader, as far as possible, through the journey of the underlying science. Paradoxically, I have found Brian Cox's more recent TV series far more 'dumbed down' and incoherent. I can't help feel there should be a midpoint in between the two and if anyone can do it, professor Cox is the man!
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VINE VOICEon 6 March 2017
This book is aimed at everyone but parts of it need to be read more than once. The writing is pretty clear but the concept is mind boggling. Brian Cox has a very good attempt at bringing it down to basics but there were a couple of parts that left me thinking "what?" . Basically a couple of points need to be rewritten towards the end. Apart from that it is very clear and well worth reading.
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on 12 August 2010
This book was even better than I expected. It's physical content starts off slow, but un-patronising, so you can understand the complexities later on, so there is no need to fear this book.
Space/time is an astounding concept, that many scientists have failed to completely understand, even now scientists are still uncertain, Cox and Forshaw expertly explain what we know so far. If you haven't heard of the concepts of space/time before, prepare to be mind blown!(But in a good way).
This book is a definite must read if you are thinking of doing a University science course. Cox and Forshaw take you into the mind of a scientist, and in the end, you will have altered your thinking accordingly and start to view the world from a scientist's point of view. Which is fundamental if you want to take your learning to a higher level.
I would also recommend this book to anyone with a natural passion for science, it will make the equations seem a lot easier!
Pythagorus's theorum and complex equations (that were explained (better than my physics teacher) before the use in the book) aside, I could not put this book down when I started reading it. Our world is more fascinating than I could have ever imagined.
Thank you Cox and Forshaw!
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on 2 June 2017
I wanted something to stretch my mind after reading the Theory of everything and this does the job. Who would have thought physics could be interesting!
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on 3 August 2017
Explains a lot, and makes relativity relatively easy to understand, relatively that is.
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on 19 March 2017
Clearly articulates the key foundations assumptions and most importantly the almost disarmingly simple deductive reasoning behind the most profound scientific achievements of humankind.
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on 5 March 2017
Great read if your interested in science etc
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on 2 October 2014
It is a well written and very accessible for a book on such a complex issue. I rate it highly and recommend it to people interested in science at any level
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on 10 January 2015
E=mc2 is an often misunderstood equation and this book really helps to resolve any misunderstanding you may have. It's a great way to read about on of mankind's great discoveries.
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on 27 April 2017
GOOD
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